Flagstaff Police Attack and Arrest San Francisco Peaks Marchers

BREAKING NEWS

Updated Monday, Aug. 8 at 7 pm

By Brenda Norrell

Photos: Navajo Klee Benally attacked and arrested by Flagstaff, Arizona, police. Photo by Youth of the Peaks.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Defenders of San Francisco Peaks were arrested during a peaceful march on Sunday and then locked down to halt pipeline construction on Monday at dawn. Native Americans and supporters are continuing their week of action to halt the Snowbowl Resort from the continued destruction of sacred San Francisco Peaks.

Protect the Peaks supporters locked down on Snowbowl Road on Monday, Aug. 8, at 5 am. Peaks defender and police liaision Rudy Preston was arrested at the scene Monday morning, followed by the arrests of eight persons who locked down. The majority of those arrested Monday morning remained in jail late Monday awaiting bail.

Alex Soto, O'odham, reporting from the lockdown, said that Flagstaff and Coconino County officers cut away the pipes to the barrels of concrete which the eight protesters were locked to with pipes. Construction was halted on the pipeline which could carry sewage water for snowmaking for tourists at the Snowbowl Ski Resort, on sacred San Francisco Peaks.

On Sunday, six people protecting San Francisco Peaks were targeted and arrested during a peaceful march for the protection of the Peaks. San Francisco Peaks defender Klee Benally, Navajo, was among those arrested.

In front of Macy's Coffeehouse on Sunday afternoon, undercover police infiltrated the hundred person march in an attempt to squash the growing anti-Snowbowl movement, marchers said.

The peaceful march by Native Americans and supporters was surrounded by police from the moment the march formed. One marcher said, "They were just waiting to pounce. And they did!"

The six arrested were released on bail late Sunday. Klee Benally said in a message on Twitter: "Just released from jail. Protect the peaks. The struggle continues."  

Undaunted by the arrests, supporters protecting San Francisco Peaks continued with a planned protest outside the US Forest Service on Monday afternon.

Native Americans are struggling to defend sacred San Francisco Peaks from snow to be made from sewage water at the Snowbowl tourist resort on the Peaks. The mountains are sacred to 13 Native American Nations. Medicine men gather plants on the Peaks and hold traditional healing ceremonies on the Peaks.

Protect the Peaks said they will continue to resist the destruction of San Francisco Peaks.

Native Americans and other defenders of the Peaks said that more than one hundred people, including families with children and elders, marched through downtown Flagstaff on Sunday in protest of the destruction and desecration of the San Francisco Peaks by Arizona Snowbowl.

"Demonstrators first gathered at Wheeler Park where they were immediately ordered to leave the public park by the Flagstaff Police Department. As the march wound through downtown Flagstaff demonstrators were met with positive responses and support while dozens of police – many out of uniform -- harassed the demonstrators," Protect the Peaks said in a statement.

"Police cars drove alongside the marchers. As the protesters passed out flyers and carried banners through Flagstaff’s Southside, police violently disrupted the march, grabbing those who were closest to the street and arresting them. As six marchers were handcuffed, the remaining demonstrators continued to yell demands for an end to the Peaks’ destruction."

“As long as Arizona Snowbowl, the Obama Administration’s Forest Service and the City of Flagstaff continue this ecocide and cultural genocide, we will not stop,” said Klee Benally (Dine’), one of the arrested marchers. “We will pray, march, protest, and take whatever action is necessary to ensure that our basic human rights, dignity and environment are safeguarded. Today’s unjustified force from the Flagstaff Police Department demonstrates that they are not on the side of justice or healthy communities. The Forest Service and City of Flagstaff are on the side of corporate interests that are destroying our communities.”

Since May 25, 2011, the owners of Arizona Snowbowl, with the support of the U.S. Forest Service and the Flagstaff City Council, have laid over five miles of a 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline and have clear-cut over 40 acres of rare alpine forest. A current lawsuit against the Forest Service, focusing on human health impacts of wastewater snowmaking, is still under appeal in the 9th Circuit Court. The individuals at today’s march are separate from the Coalition involved in the lawsuit.
 
Sunday’s march joins four decades of sustained resistance to desecration of the Holy Peaks. Over the past three weeks since Snowbowl began clear-cutting, dozens of protest camps have been established on the mountain.
 
“The Week of Action is a culmination of efforts to directly address the lack of political will of the Forest Service and City Council to safeguard the community, public health and cultural rights,” said Nadia Del Callejo who was arrested while simply video taping the incident.
 
“The same profit driven push that has desecrated the Peaks, is the same sickness that has lead to the militarization of the border and is now trying to desecrate South Mountain, which is sacred to all O’odham.” said Alex Soto (Tohono O‘odham ) who was also arrested, “Sacred sites are under attack, but today we said no. Our solidarity in these struggles is re-establishing our traditional networks of support.”
 
Demonstrators invite everyone to join their rallies on Wednesday, at 12:30 pm at High Desert Investment at 504 E Butler Ave and Wednesday, 4:00 pm at Flagstaff City Hall.
 
Protesters vowed to not stop until the desecration of the Peaks stops. “I am not afraid of what will happen to me if I protest, what I am more afraid of is what will happen if I do not stand up for what the Peaks are,” Del Callejo said.
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More photos and updates: Censored News: http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com


 

About Brenda Norrell

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 32 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.

Comments

Sacred Peaks

A SHOUT OUT TO ALL OUR YOUNG PEOPLE TAKING A STAND TO PROTECT THE HOLY PEAKS. OBVIOUSLY OTHERS DON'T GET IT. www.truesno.org for more info. EDUCATE YOURSELVES....blessings to all....

Flagstaff police arresting protesters.

Looks like it is time to wake up the sleeping giant! Where are our tribal leaders on this issue? All Navajo and other Native peoples must rise up and make a stand!

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About Brenda Norrell

Personal Website
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

Biography

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 32 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.